Osuna has shot with Royals, who are light on LHPs

Edgar Osuna is left-handed, something the Kansas City Royals

have in short supply at spring training.

Osuna, who the Royals picked up from Atlanta in a December draft

of minor league players, has never pitched above Double-A, but the

Royals plan to take a long look at him in camp. They have to keep

him on their 25-man roster all year or offer him back to the Braves

for half the $50,000 drafting price.

Osuna could earn a slot at the back end of the Royals’ rotation

or wind up in the bullpen.

“He is going to get stretched out and hopefully get an

opportunity for us to see him face as many hitters as possible,”

Royals manager Trey Hillman said Sunday.

“The reports are he’s not going to knock your socks off with

velocity, but he pitches really effective to both sides of the

plate and has a plus change up. I want to see the swings. I’ve seen

the stuff now. How often does he throw strikes? How often does he

hit the glove? He’s done a pretty good job of hitting the glove in

bullpen situations and changing speeds.”

Dusty Hughes, who was 0-2 with a 5.14 ERA during a September

call-up, and 20-year-old Cuban refugee Noel Arguelles, who has not

thrown a pitch professionally and will start the season in the

minors, are the only other left-handers on the big league roster in

camp.

Hillman said Osuna being left-handed is a benefit.

“I think they always have the advantage,” Hillman. “I’ve said

many times I’d like to have as many of those guys as we can

get.”

“It helps,” Osuna said to be left-handed, “but you still need

to make pitches. It doesn’t matter if you’re left-handed or

right-handed.”

Osuna’s fastball velocity hovers around 87-89 mph, but he also

has a good change and breaking ball. He has excellent control,

walking only 35 in 150 innings in the minors last year.

“I try to throw balls in the corners and throw strikes early in

the count and get outs,” he said. “Command is one of the things

I’ve been working on the past few years – throw strikes and throw

low in the zone. That’s very important.

“I’ve been using all the pitches. In the past two years, I’ve

been using more my curveball. I trust both my curveball and change

to get outs to anybody. I’m not afraid to throw them in any count.

That’s helped me.”

Osuna went 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA in 16 games, only two starts, for

Mazatlan in the Mexican winter league when the Royals picked him up

Dec. 10 in the Rule 5 Draft.

“It made me feel happy,” he said. “I was real excited.”

He said it does not matter whether he starts or comes out of the

bullpen.

“I don’t think that’s going to be a problem,” Osuna said. “In

winter ball, I was in a bullpen role. It was okay for me. It’s not

a big difference. If I’m here, it’s because they think I can pitch.

I think in my mind if I’m here, I can pitch. I’m not afraid.”

Nor will he be in awe of major league hitters.

“The hitters they can be good, but I’m good, too,” he

said.

NOTES: DH-OF Jose Guillen was given permission to report late to

make funeral arrangements after the unexpected death of a sibling

in the Dominican Republic. Hillman said he is unsure when Guillen

would arrive. Monday is the report date for position players with

the first full-scheduled workout Tuesday. Guillen and IFs Alberto

Callaspo, Mario Lisson and Wilson Betemit are the only players who

have not yet shown up. Lisson and Betemit are on minor league

contracts. … Overnight rain left the fields wet as the Royals did

most of their workouts indoors Sunday for the second straight

day.